“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty [the Aramaic text says “Almighty God”], who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb” (Genesis 49:25) Joseph’s Blessing
Spring Break in winter doesn’t make sense – but here it is Spring Break, and we are taking another trip back to the Great Smokey Mountains.The boys have been anxious that I would submit them to another 4 hour trip to Cades Cove. They’re dreaming of slick tracks, car racing, spin outs and game places – and living in the cabin’s hot tub, if at all possible.
It was one of those mornings where I woke up ready for the day, instead of feeling like I was already behind. I read a bit of Ann’s 1,000 Gifts and A Beautiful Mess. Which inspired me – to not only include a hiking trip to a waterfall, but a Blessing Lesson.
A Beautiful Mess said,”There is no relationship between pleasure seeking and happiness.”
From there, I shared Ann’s message from Luke 17 – where Jesus healed 10 lepers and only one came back to praise Him and thank Him. Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.”
Ann explained, “Our very saving is associated with our gratitude. . . . And the Leper’s faith was a faith that said, “thank you.”
God healed all 10 – but only one was made whole – inside and out. If their illness had created broken attitudes, broken tempers, resentment, hopelessness, knowing how to immerse themselves back into society, to stop living the outcast and live belonging – all healed – only one made whole because he lived thankfulness.
We talked about recognizing the blessings – not just the big ones. My boys know the big blessings of God in their lives – stories of healing, protecting and holding. Recognizing the little blessings of God in our lives, they are just as important.
So we went to our hike, to our waterfall – where part of me wanted an oxygen tank, maybe a helicopter to just carry me to that mountain top, a leg-wearing journey where I felt my physical weakness – and it was so worth it – hopefully, all of us gathered blessings.
The blessings I found were Love Letters from Shaddai, God of the Mountains.
Love Letters were written on the landscapes.
The high mountain trails warned me today’s journey might be hard and wear on me physically – but that it would be worth it. I asked for it. I wanted to do it. I wanted to take the boys. Do you have dreams? Things you want to do? Today, symbolized the journey of those dreams, those things I want to do. His love letter told me to keep going; it would be worth it.
He left me a letter in a big tree, its root-ball pulled from the ground. He wanted me to know that if I have strong roots in Him, I will not be overturned.
Tree Seeds, all over the path, held another love letter from Shaddai. Each seed was a message that He created me to grow strong, bloom and pass those seeds on to others. I am awed by the amount of seeds. Do our lives produce seed like that – everywhere, for anyone who comes across our path – an abundance, a more than enough – like this tree – does He expect that of us? Are there that many opportunities for us?
Another tree fallen down left me sad. He had a letter for me there, too. Shaddai told me nothing is wasted. Not even brokenness. Not even death. Someone had carved steps out of the tree, making a foot-wide step-bridge to help others reach the waterfall.
Shaddai, He said He placed stepping stones along the path, some challenged, some awkwardly placed, some easy to step on – but all His stepping stones provide a path to a Holy Spirit immersion.
So many roots, all reaching for the water. The roots, they work diligently toward that source – become stronger because of it. Shaddai, He wants me to be like that – to work my way, rooted in Him, filled with His Holy Spirit Source. He knows I cannot sustain myself, I need His Holy Spirit source like a tree needs water.
All day, we worked toward the waterfall.
All day long, I kept seeing water, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Everywhere I found love letters on post-it notes from Shaddai: in the water trickling over footpaths, in playful streams, in dangerous, swift currents – and in the mighty waterfall.
“Was it worth it,” I asked one couple, as I desperately wanted a water bottle and an oxygen tank.
“Yes,” said the young husband.
“No,” said the young mother. “I expected it to be bigger.”
We passed another couple, an elderly couple – which brought us up short. How did they manage to get here? I was ready for a helicopter ride out.
“Was it worth it?” I asked.
“Yes, it was worth it. It always is,” He answered, his wife, holding 2 light walking staffs, nodded in agreement.
Our boys had reach the falls about 30 minutes before we did.
“You need help, mom” one asked as he watched me maneuver the slippery path, the uneven rocks and roots. He must have been pretty worried about me.
You know how people say that when a new mother holds her newborn child in her arms, that the labor of minutes before – “All is forgotten” in the holding of the child?
In reaching the waterfall, all was forgotten – the soreness, the need for oxygen and water.
My boys seemed a bit surprised to see their mom manage her way out to the big rock. In return, I am always surprised about how little they know about me, how one-dimensional their view of me isl. I have no idea what theythought when I took off my shoes and socks to immerse my feet in the soul-piercing cold water.
I looked at the waterfall, at the pool below the fall, and the clear, bubbling water so clear you could see to the bottom – and I thought, I don’t want a Holy Spirit Trickle across the footpath of my journey. I want to immerse myself in a Holy Spirit Waterfall. I want to be that brave and courageous to live Holy Spirit like that!
Today, I climbed the mountains and found love letters from Shaddai.